How to Install Latest VirtualBox 5.1 on Ubuntu 16.04/Debian 8

VirtualBox is a free and open-source virtualization software that can be used in enterprise as well as in home. It can run on Linux, Mac, Windows. The latest VirtualBox 5.1 was released on July 12, 2016 by Oracle.

Is it a worthy update? Here are the highlights in VirtualBox 5.1:

  • increased Linux Integration, DKMS is no longer needed to install new kernel modules when Linux kernel is upgraded
  • improved multimedia support
  • a new bug reporting helper tool
  • a new NVMHCI storage controller for emulating NVMe (NVM Express) devices, aka, flash storage
  • better support for different USB devices and multi-channel audio
  • significantly improved performance when running VMs with multi-CPU
  • improved systemd integration

Install VirtualBox 5.1 on Ubuntu 16.04/Debian 8

The following steps also works on Ubuntu flavors like Lubuntu 16.04, Xubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu Mate 16.04 etc and also on Linux Mint 18, Elementary OS.

To install the latest version on Ubuntu 16.04 and Debian 8, we will have to use the official Oracle repository.

If you have already installed VirtualBox from Ubuntu or Debian repository, remove it with:

sudo apt remove virtualbox

Don’t worry about your guest OS. They will be fine. Next, open /etc/apt/sources.list file:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Append the following line at the end of this file if you are using Ubuntu 16.04.

deb xenial contrib

Append this line if you are using Debian 8 Jessie.

deb jessie contrib

install virtualbox 5.1 on Debian 8 jessie

Press Ctrl+O to save the file. Then press Ctrl+X to close the file. Now fetch the Oracle GPG public key and import it to your Ubuntu 16.04/Debian 8 system with the following command so packages downloaded from Oracle repository can be verified.

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Then all left to do is update local package index and install Virtualbox 5.1.

sudo apt update

sudo apt install virtualbox-5.1

You can check the version number in help > about VirtualBox.

install virtualbox 5.1 on ubuntu 16.04

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4 Responses to “How to Install Latest VirtualBox 5.1 on Ubuntu 16.04/Debian 8

  • Peter G
    8 years ago

    tried this and many other install procedures of VBOX 5.1 on 16.04

    always end up geting the error when attempting to start Vbox after installation:

    Failed to acquire the VirtualBox COM object.

    The application will now terminate.


  • Carol McAnulty
    8 years ago

    It worked fine for me in Xubuntu 16.04 64bit.

  • Anupam Mitra
    3 weeks ago

    I applied your steps to install Virtual Box 5.1 in my Ubuntu 16.04. But it couldn’t. A screen shot is given below.

    Need further suggestion.

    • Xiao Guo-An (Admin)
      3 weeks ago

      After pasting the deb line, press Ctrl+O to save the file. Then press Ctrl+X to close the file.

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